Thursday, May 8, 2008

WiMax Sprint / Clearwire / Comcast / Time Warner Deal Announced

Earlier this week I wrote about it and yesterday Sprint Nextel and Clearwire Corporation announced the combination of wireless broadband divisions to form a single $14.5 billion company that will keep the name Clearwire. Also participating and throwing in a combined $3.2 billion are Intel, Google, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks and Trilogy Equity Partners. Trilogy is run by John Stanton, a wireless veteran who made billions when he sold VoiceStream and Western Wireless.

Back in 2006, Mike Q and I did a podcast on WiMax, Clearwire and Clearwire's Founder Chairman Craig McCaw. Here's what we said about Clearwire back in September 2006:

Craig McCaw is a visionary, who has had an uncanny ability to predict the future of technology. WiMAX has the potential to do for broadband access what cell phones have done for telephony - replacing cable and DSL services, providing universal Internet access just about anywhere - especially for suburban and rural blackout areas.

Just like in the early 1980's Clearwire's Craig O. McCaw has been buying up licensed radio spectrum. You may not have heard of Craig but in the early 80's he recognized local cell permits being sold by the the FCC were greatly undervalued and he started bidding cellular phone licenses. He did his buying under the radar screen of the telcos and, by the time they recognized what he was doing it was basically too late - Craig had already purchased and owned licenses in most of the major markets.

Today - Clearwire, under Craig's direction, has quietly purchased enough licensed radio spectrum to build a national WiMAX network.

Craig McCaw and Clearwire have the spectrum, the money, the partners, superior wireless broadband technology when compared to services like 3G and the experience to make this work..... think about it..... Intel makes the WiMax radio components for computers, Google creates applications that can use WiMax services, Comcast, Time Warner and Brighthouse bundle WiMax products and services and market to their customers.... ..

According to an AP post yesterday:

The new company plans to make its service available to 120 million to 140 million people in the U.S. by the end of 2010, although company officials acknowledged they'll need to raise or borrow up to $2.3 billion more to make that happen. Alternatively, they said they could shrink the size of the network.

The deal has been approved by all companies but still must be approved by Clearwire shareholders and regulators. It is expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year.

To read show notes and listen to Mike Q and my 17 minute and 20 second podcast (Sept 2006) titled WiMax - Why Not?, click here. Listen to it directly in your web browser by clicking here. If you have iTunes installed you can subscribe to our podcasts by clicking here.


Anonymous said...

People are saying this will solve the last mile issues better than fiber to the home . How could this be ? The pipe will never cover the needs thus resulting in putting this country far behind others. We all need to combine efforts and do FTTH to every home with Wi Fi running on top of that.

Gordon F Snyder Jr said...

I could not agree with you more!